Sunday, February 25, 2007

Padme's Perspective

I don't know what this new growth is on my mom, but look at that thing! I have a feeling it can't be good for me.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

District-Mandated Child Abuse

Our students took the TAKS test this week. There numerous rules and regulations brought down by the state to ensure fairness and equality. If these rules are not followed to the letter, then many teachers/administrators risk losing their certificates.

Truth be told, most of these rules and regulations are very reasonable and do not require ridiculous measures to implement. However, far too often, schools go above and beyond the call of duty in their enforcement of said regulations in an attempt to be EXTRA cautious. This creates an entirely new list of sub-regulations that I have deemed the District-Mandated Child Abuse.

Here are but a few of the sub-regulations for students:

1. Students may not bring any items from home.
2. Students must remain COMPLETELY silent all day long. This includes break and lunch time.
3. Students may not wear a watch during testing.
4. No recess.
5. No specialty classes (i.e. PE, Art or Music)
6. Any child who does not finish by the 3:00 bell will be moved to an alternate testing room where they must work until they are finished (up to 6:00 if needed).

I don't know about you but I would go crazy if I had to sit in one seat for 7 hours with my only break being a 30 minute lunch where I was seated amongst my friends, but could not talk with them. Try this with a school full of 8-11 year olds and you start to see my point. And don't forget about our little 5-year-old kinder students who are across the hall from the testing environment. They have to speak only in whispers all day when they are used to singing and dancing their way through the curriculum.

I think kids dread the testing day more for the pending sub-regulations than for the nervousness over the actual test.

Next year we may move to Chinese Water Torture for any child who is not finished by the time the 3:00 bell rings. (Insert evil laugh here)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sweet or Spooky?

So I've heard that the first time you see your baby's face is a moment you will never forget.
I concur:

I have been promised that she will be born complete with skin and eyes to fill in the sockets. . . . I hope so.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


So in my district, we use benchmarks to help our students understand different measurements. For example, the benchmark for a decimeter is a crayon. The students use these benchmarks to help them estimate various measurements on the TAKS test.The district holds teacher trainings where they explain these benchmarks and give out posters for the teachers to hang in their classrooms so that the students can relate a picture with each of the measurements.

This year, I was doing my administrative rounds to check on how the classrooms were coming along and saw this up on the wall in one of my math teacher's rooms:

So many disturbing thoughts came to mind as I immediately took this picture from the wall. (Not to mention many stifled giggles)

The benchmark for 1 millimeter is supposed to be the edge of a dime. This, however, is a picture of an Italian coin. Both coins may have an edge that measures 1 mm, but in what world is this picture appropriate for elementary age students?

The teacher came over to me while shrugging his shoulders and said, "I didn't think that was appropriate, but it was given to us at the training."

I quickly made up a new poster with a picture of a dime. The original picture? Well, I kept that for my "Wall of Shame" which I keep inside one of my cabinet doors in my office so that I can have an easy laugh on stressful days.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Self Serve 101

I seriously do not like to wait. You'd think that with as much of it as I have to do, that I'd be pretty good at it by now, but sadly I am not. Doctors offices? Traffic? Grocery stores? Yeah, all places where I get plenty of practice waiting.

You can probably imagine my appreciation of the self-serve lines at the stores. The whole concept behind these lines is to provide you with the opportunity to wait less, which is exactly what I prefer.

I really pride myself on my efficiency with these self-serve lines. Swipe . . . bag, swipe . . . bag, press total, swipe card, grab reciept and items, go home. 2 minutes tops and I am out of there. I find myself wanting to look around once I am finished to see all the impressed expressions on the people surrounding me, but I digress.

There really should be a training for some people when it comes to using these lines. I had the opportunity to ponder this for quite some time the other day as I was forced to wait behind someone who was clearly in need of training. To this and all other's who struggle, I offer this short list of tips:

1) This is an express lane. Items should be limited to 10 or less. Read the sign. If you have just completed your shopping for the next two weeks, there are 8 other lines waiting to serve you.

2) When the mechanical voice behind the screen asks you if you have any coupons, they are not expecting an audible response. Pressing "YES/NO" will more than suffice. When you answer out loud, you just look silly.

3) The machine is only going to give you two language options: English or Spanish. If you speak Vietnamese, the machine is not going to speak to you in your native tounge no matter how many buttons you press. This is clearly not the line for you. Once again, there are 8 other lines that will be more than happy to scan your items for you.

I am sure that more tips will follow as I have ample opportunities to wait and ponder.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

About Time

Okay, okay. I finally took a moment and made myself start the blog I've been promising for ages. We've been working like crazy on the baby's nursery and finally finished painting all the characters. We assembled it as much as we could so we could show it off at tonight's Super Bowl party we're hosting. Here are a few of the shots we took starting with a before and after view.

I think the husband did quite a nice job on the murals and I've been patting him on the back every chance I get. Eventually I will figure out how to make this page look all fancy, but until then, enjoy the pics.